A dancing, swirling 'Fiddler on the Roof' at The Bushnell

This is what comes from men and women dancing.

That’s a sentiment angrily expressed in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” when a young radical named Perchik scandalizes a wedding crowd by asking one of the bride’s sisters to dance.

But this whole production — a new national tour based on the 2015 Broadway revival of the Joseph Stein, Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock’s 1964 classic, drawn from short stories by Sholem Aleichem — is defined by dance. Not just men and women dancing, but a whole village. The dances show love, community, harmony. The show’s choreographer, Hofesh Shechter, is as crucial as its director, Bartlett Sher.

The people of the Russian shtetl of Anatevka, in pre-Revolution 1905, are poor. So they dance. Some of this, augmented with flips and balancing acts, is quite spectacular. The tender ballad “Sunrise, Sunset” morphs into a peppy wedding dance, the shifting music score artfully conducted by Michael Uselmann.

Yet for all the extended, elaborate, large-cast dances, this is a well-acted, naturalistic, nuanced “Fiddler on the Roof.”

The ensemble keeps things steady. There’s humor, but there’s not the over-the-top kvetching and kvelling that plagues some productions of “Fiddler.” Nobody’s falling into arch stereotypes or going for big crass comic moments, not even the matchmaker Yente (Carol Beaugard), who comes off here as a well-meaning busybody.

The tone is set by the show’s star, Yehezkel Lazarov as Tevye. He is loud but not shouty or grand. He’s thoughtful and cautious. He gets his laughs and his tears honestly. Tevye is one of the great dramatic roles in all of musical theater, and Lazarov knows it. He also looks really sharp in his trimmed beard and his fashionable yet practical long brown greatcoat.

Swirling coats, twirling dresses and fluttering prayer shawls are a big part of this show. They bring us back to the dancing. And the dancing flows naturally into the distressing violence wrought upon the villagers by the Russian military. Villagers dance on the tables, then those tables are overturned by the oppressive soldiers.

The stage is largely bare. Set designer Michael Yeargan (the Yale professor who’s designed shows at all the big regional theaters in Connecticut, and regularly collaborates with Sher on Broadway musical revivals) doesn’t go the fake-cow or dirt-floor or hyper-realistic house route, instead opting for a simple gray brick wall as a backdrop and minimalist sets.

In such a purposefully spare setting, all the vibrant energy emanates from the actors. There’s a real sense of community, yet one in which certain individuals — like that young radical Perchik (Ryne Nardecchia) stand out as they should.

One of the charms of “Fiddler on the Roof” is how straightforward and direct the show is. The trajectory is simple. Tevye and the other townsfolk are clinging to the past, but change is upon them.

As with all Broadway revivals directed by Sher, connections between the era of the show and our own times are hard to miss. There’s even a framing device which connects the Russian shtetl of Anatevka to our own era’s push-pull of conservative and progressive ideas.

In this fine “Fiddler,” everything flows. Everybody learns. The dance goes on.

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF — book by Joseph Stein, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, music by Jerry Bock — runs through Nov. 11 at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Tickets are $23 to $113. 860-987-5900, bushnell.org

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