7th-century Sanskrit inscription mentions the donation of dancers as part
of a ritual and material offering to a temple. Another inscription dating
from the 9th century tells us that King Yashovarman I (889-ca. 900 AD)
learned music and dance. We also know that King Jayavarman VII (1181- ca.1218
AD) donated thousands of dancers to the temples of Preah Khan and Ta Prohm.
Not surprisingly, there are many images of elegant dancers found at Preah
("Depictions of Dance and Drama on Ancient Cambodian Temples" - Boreth Ly)
Gita Govinda songs, popular both in the temple musical traditions and dance
traditions of almost all the classical dance styles of India, is a veritable
treasure house of padabhinaya in which intense emotions are expressed
mostly through satvika and hasta abhinayas. All the
different types of nayikas and their several avastha bhedas
find their appropriate textual base in Gita Govinda.
('Jayadeva's Gita Govinda: Architectonics of love and religion in dance' by M Nagabhushana Sarma, Nartanam, Aug-Oct 2007)
the Nageshvara temple in Kumbakonam, the presence of a shrine for Surya
with a sculptural plan almost entirely dedicated to dancing forms of Shiva
may seem puzzling. But it becomes clearer when seen in the light of further
information from the tradition and literature. One Tevaram hymn composed
by saint Appar in the 7th century is dedicated to this temple and every
verse addresses Shiva as Kuttanar, or Dancing Lord, the god of Kutantaik
Kilkkottam, which is the ancient name for the Nageshvara temple in Kumbakonam.
(Raja Deekshithar in 'Earliest Nataraja sculpture discovered')