We all have heard his fierce Tandava dance when he got angry. World seems to be an end when he dance in anger. But since he is lord of dance (Natraja) then it's not like that he will dance only in anger (which we heard mostly). If God of dance and destruction shows his anger in form of dance then do he shows his joy too in dance? If yes, then when Shiva do Tandava dance in joy? What are those incidents when Shiva did dance in joy and what was the reason of his joy when he did dance?
This Kurma Purana passage mentions several Rishis witnessing Lord Shiva's Tandava. In this case, it was not performed by Lord Shiva during Pralaya and not out of anger.
Shiva Tandava (The Cosmic Dance of Maha Deva): Veda Vyas described Shiva Tandava on the clear skies along with Vishnu when Maharshis visioned as a feast to their eyes and to the full contentment of their life-time. Those Maharshis who imagine Shiva’s sacred feet in their imagination and get freed from their fears arising from their ignorance had the fill of their ambition; indeed they had actually seen and heard most memorable action with reverberating sounds across the skies! They visioned Parama Rudra with thousand resplendent heads, hands and feet with matted hair, half moon on his head, tiger skin as his clothing, huge hands swaying Trishula, Danda held in palms, Three Eyes of Surya, Chandra and Agni representing Three Vedas, Three Gunas, Tri Lokas; his physique encompassing the Brahmanda; producing ‘Agni Jwaalaas’from each thumping of his dancing feet and with an awesome and frightening body profile! The Brahmavaadis had actually seen with their inner eyes while Maha Deva was being worshipped by Brahma, Indra and Devatas besides Yogis and Maha Munis with their heads down, feet prostrated and hands folded kept on their heads; they all witnessed glimpses of Narayana also taking part in the Cosmic Dance. Sanat Kumara, Sanaka, Bhrigu, Sanatana, Sanandana, Rudra, Angira, Vamadeva, Shukra, Atri, Kapila and Marichi had all witnessed too the Celestial Scene and thanked themselves with exclamations of ‘Dhanya’or applauses of rare and fortunate blessings! As the Tandava was in progress, there were echos of Omkara and Veda Mantras and the enraptured Maharshis resorted to Stuti as follows:
Twamekameesham Purusham Puranam Praneshwaram Rudramananta yogam |
Namaama Sarvey Hridi Samnivightam Prachetasam Brahmamayam Pavitram ||
(Stuti incomplete; can be read on the linked page)
To the Ishanya (North East) of Virinchi pura was a Place called Naagahala where Maha Deva devoured ‘Haalahala’ during the course of Deva-Danavas’ churning of ‘Ksheeraabhdhi’ to obtain Amrita (nectar); not far from this Area was Tapovana where Devi Parvati meditated for long and got hallowed. To the West of Mahabalipura were Triveni Sangama pura which yielded the benefit of bathing in Triveni Sangama at Prayaga and Vyaaghra Vana where Parama Shiva performed Shiva Tandava (Cosmic Dance) at the request of Maharshi Vyaghra Paada who meditated and pleased Shiva.
So, in this case too, Lord Shiva performed Tandava during a time which was not Pralaya-time and also not because he was angry but because he was pleased with Vyaghrapada's penance.