LA PUENTE, Calif. (KABC) -- At a studio in La Puente, Sergio Juarez is calling forth the ancient traditions of his ancestors. While dancers form a circle moving to the beat of the drums, Juarez is the leader of Danza Azteca Toyaacan, a role he took over after his father passed away.
Juarez credits his father for finding a creative way to keep him off the streets and out of trouble as a young boy. He especially appreciates that gift now.
"Being able to put the arts into the community to bring a little bit of what he remembers in Mexico," he said.
Danza Azteca is an indigenous spiritual practice from Mexico that mixes prayer with dancing and singing. It's a tradition Juarez is helping to keep alive by providing free lessons much like his predecessors.
Danza Azteca has flourished in the four decades since it was reintroduced. This past September, the group performed in front of thousands during the Mexican Independence Parade in East Los Angeles.
"For me it's really important. One of my first things that I am trying to do is pass it down, so my children know the ceremony. My children are involved in Danza, and now my grand baby," said Geny Mejia.
The dancing and singing aren't the only traditions being passed down. Part of the ceremony also includes the regalia - which reflects each person's essence or Nagual.
"It's important for people to bear witness that it is still here, that it is not gone," said Juarez.
The group is keeping the spiritual and cultural celebration of Mexico's indigenous past alive while preparing the next generation to carry it forward.