Swing dance" is a group of dances that developed with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s-1950s, although the earliest of these dances predate swing jazz music. The best known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, a popular partner dance that originated in Harlem and is still danced today. While the majority of swing dances began in African American communities as vernacular African American dancees, some swing dances, (Balboa, for example) developed in white communities.
Swing jazz features the syncopated timing associated with African American and West African music and dance — a combination of crotchets and quavers (quarter notes and eighth notes) that many swing dancers interpret as 'triple steps' and 'steps' — yet also introduces changes in the way these rhythms were played — as a distinct delay or 'relaxed' approach to timing.
Today there are swing-dance scenes in many countries. Lindy Hop is often the most popular, though each city and country prefers various dances to different degrees. Each local swing-dance community has a distinct local culture and defines "swing dance", and the "appropriate" music to accompany it, in different ways.
In many scenes outside the United States, the term "swing dancing" is used to refer to one, or all, of the following swing era dances: Lindy Hop, Charleston, Shag, and Balboa. This group is often extended to include West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Hand Dancing, Jive, Rock and Roll, Modern Jive, and other dances developing in the 1940s and later. A strong tradition of social and competitive boogie woogie and Rock 'n' Roll in Europe add these dances to their local swing dance cultures.