The hands are the primary point of connection between Lindy Hop dancers, and it is through this connection that the lead and follow aspect of the dance is communicated. This section describes these hand holds and how they are used.
At beginner level, focusing on the detail of the hand grip is excessive. As long as the leader can communicate his intentions and as long as the dancers keep hold of each other, it's usually better to focus attention on larger aspects of the dance. However, even during the first stages of learning the dance, it is important that the partners work on getting the right tension in their arms.
The dancers' arms should be slightly tensed and springy, rather than stiff or floppy. The follower should also try to match the level of tension in the leader's arm. When his arm is tighter, he can lead a spin and the follower will get some momentum for the spin from the lead—if her arm were loose, then the lead would just flick her arm around and not her whole body. When the leader's arm is loose, the follower's arm should also be loose so he can push it behind her back for a Texas Tommy without awkwardness (if her arm were taut, then pushing it would make her turn or become uncomfortable).
As dancers reach a more intermediate level, they will have enough attention to spare to work on the correct grip. A more delicate connection, with the follower's fingers curled around the leader's fingers, is enough to lead any of the moves in Lindy Hop (excepting lifts and drops). The leader doesn't normally need to use his thumb to grip, and the follower should not grip too tightly with her fingers.
A common problem dancers have is that the grip becomes inverted after a clockwise turn: the leader's left hand is pointing down, with the fingers underneath pointing to the left. In social dancing, the leader then finds that they have to lead an anticlockwise turn to "unwind" before they can lead a Lindy Turn. This problem can normally be fixed by a combination of the leader lowering the hand slightly later after the turn, and the follower rotating her hand clockwise as it drops.