The most difficult part of dance for the beginner is the hold, meaning the connection between the couple. The hold must be mastered absolutely, before dance training can begin.
If I'm teaching a beginning couple, they make faster progress if the gentleman learns the basic "hold" in a private lesson before the couple begins working together. I can feel when he is relaxing his arms and when that happens, the lady can get stepped on.
The gentleman, as the leader, is responsible for maintaining the correct connection between him and his partner. His leads must be immediately recognized by the lady. If the proper Hold is not held throughout the dance, the couple has no way of maintaining their distance from one another, they step on each other, get discouraged and probably never try dancing again.
Beginners have enough to work on with balance, sway, posture, footwork and timing, so the hold needs to become the first part of their muscle memory.
The video below will explain the basic hold for American and International category.