Cheating or productivity tip?

We were once huffing and puffing and sweating through a ballroom dance lesson when our instructor told us to keep our elbow close to the body, forcing us to keep a short leash on ourselves and our partners so we were less likely to take huge steps. He said the point wasn't the movement, but giving the audience the illusion of movement. My immediate thought was: that's cheating!

I realized shortly after, that taking the smallest steps possible while giving the illusion of movement enabled me to execute them much more quickly (same as in piano), and ultimately perform much, much more complex sequences with little to no effort. It is cheating if you take shortcuts to avoid doing work because you're lazy. It's not cheating if it simplifies the task such that you can do much more complex tasks and be that much more productive. It's about asking: where does a minimum of effort yield a maximum impact?