The boy says that he”hung on like death” when his father was dancing. This implies a senseof fear between the boy, because he does not quite trust his father to catchhim. He then describes their dancing as romping, which is typically a joyfulaction which you do with your friends. The boy is obviously having fun. When thefather finally stops dancing he carries his son off to bed. The traditionalimage of a father carrying his son to bed at night is one of true affection.
Clearly “Papa” and the speaker have a relationship sprinkled withfear, joy, and love.