In dance, it might look like very, very basic footwork, with a tap-step substituted for a triple (couldn't be easier.) Add some arm styling and a body roll or two, and it doesn't look basic at all, even though it is.
Very true! I also know an AMAZING lead (he won the Master's division at the US Open in 2010), who pretty much only leads basics, but he takes you all over the place with them, and you really have to just dance 2 beats at a time, because you never know what direction he's going to lead the next 2 in - if the room's empty enough, he'll take you all over the floor! But it's funny, because until you realize that he's only leading basics, you'll think he doesn't at all. Girls have complained to me that he NEVER leads basics, and I'll be like no, WATCH him, that's all he ever leads - Look, side pass, whip, underarm, tuck!
I also want to add some points to this fine discussion.
Like the OP I also dance in the Greater Phoenix area, and attend WCS dances as well as take WCS lessons from several instructors. The foot work observed by the OP is not lazy footwork, it is well defined and is used to smooth out the dance. Basically it is replacing the first two parts of a triple with a hold or tap step to smooths out the dance, add emphasis to whips, or to provide a better anchor for pushes.
My wife does 1, 2&3, 4, 5&6 on left side passes; so she can begin turns sooner.
I also try to keep my toes in contact with the floor; making weight transfers difficult to see.
I should also add that the Lady uses a coaster step on whips, but absolutely not on an anchor.
All of the above can make the dance look different, but it isn't.