Dancing together as a family was unlike anything else in bonding us together. It's hard to explain, but I would say we were definitely stronger because of the van rides together to far off dances and the exhausted, bumping-into-each-other do-si-dos. Laughter and touch was a big part of that no doubt.
Our family was known by dancers in much of northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, as we were of the youngest and largest of families involved in it. But around graduation or so, after going off to college, I quit dancing with my family. And they eventually quit, too. As I look back, I wish we would have kept it up.
Some of my best memories of Dad were at dances. He was very animated and enthusiastic about every opportunity to get on the dance floor. For a man who mostly worked from dawn till dusk, dancing was a chance for me and my sister to see the loving and lighter side of him shine through.
Square dancing is probably a dying art. I don't have any hard numbers, but based on completely unscientific evidence (such as a Google search for local clubs), I'd say that the 300 year-old folk dance is going the way of the family dinner. In an era where families no longer sit at the table each evening, square dancing is regarded as old fashioned in much the same way.
It's sad, really. I'd hate to see such a wonderful folk art form be lost to the history books of American past.