They came from Guantanamo, Havana and Bayamo. And they came to dance.

The Malpaso Dance Company, Cuba’s acclaimed contemporary dance troupe, performed three sold out performances at the Yard in Chilmark this weekend. The dance colony even added an extra show on Saturday due to such high ticket sales.

The Havana based repertory company performed two pieces, one by American contemporary choreographer Trey McIntyre and a second by resident choreographer Osnel Delgado.

Choreographer and dancer Osnel Delgado takes to the air. — Jeanna Shepard

Malpaso was founded in 2012, but the troupe is quickly finding their voice as a company.

“The company is a repertory company,” said co-founder and director Fernando Saez. “Which means that we develop works and collaborations with international choreographers we consider not only good but can match with the style of the company, or with some lines of research and work that we are exploring or we are eager to explore.”

In Mr. McIntyre’s Under Fire, originally commissioned for the Joyce Theatre in New York city, dancers moved through fierce lines of choreography that combined traditional modern composition with playful motifs. The work brought a few audience members to tears.

The dancers then brought the heat in Despedida, a work choreographed by Mr. Delgado with original music by Arturo O’Farrill. Mr. O’Farrill, a Latin jazz composer with a strong Cuban background, is the son of music legend Chico O’Farrill. The piece drew inspiration from a Jorge Luis Borges poem.

Dancers returned to Cuba after show before heading off to the West Coast of the U.S. — Jeanna Shepard

Finding a balance between preserving the past and forging a new path is key to the company’s growth, Mr. Saez said. Collaboration is also essential as it is part of the fabric of the Cuban culture, he added. And this is paramount when art is involved.

“Collaboration is not for us a state of mind,” he said. “It’s not a circumstance, it’s not an attitude, it’s deeply connected to the essence of our own culture and the modest mission of our company.”

Mr. Saez comes from an acting background and a family of theatre people. He learned from his parents that the “legacy and philosophy” of the theatre, no matter the medium on stage, is steeped in responsibility, something Malpaso considers every time they take the stage.

“Audiences are sacred, we have to deliver,” he said. “This is something very special and we have to be extremely resourceful. You are restarting everyday.”

Malpaso made their American debut at the Joyce Theatre in New York city in 2014 to rave reviews. The company now heads back to Cuba to prepare for their debut on the U.S. West Coast, followed by a full U.S. tour early next year.

Their time on the Vineyard coincided with the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Cuba for the first time in 50 years. Mr. Saez is hopeful that Cuba’s international relations will only improve and Malpaso will be a part of that.

“It is a happy circumstance, a symbolic circumstance,” he said. “I think it’s going to be good and positive and perhaps we, not only the company but all the American artists and artisans we have worked with... are already one little step ahead. We know how to work together, we know how to put our differences in place and how to be a good artistic resource.”

As for the Vineyard, Mr. Saez said it didn’t feel too different from his home.

“This is just lovely,” he said with a smile. “In Cuba, we have very beautiful places, some of those would be compared to the scale of the beauty of this Island. It’s a very different landscape, but we feel somehow at home. There is overwhelming beauty and the ocean all around.”