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You can change data sets, trim it down, do whatever you want. Of course I would recommend saving as a different tableau file - just in case....
As Alex said, you can do this, and in 7.0 you can do it pretty easily.
Let's say for example that the particular subset of data you're interested in working with has a particular column value...maybe a field called "cars" with a value of "ford". You could Duplicate your original data source and then in the copy of that Data Source, set up a Global Filter as "Cars=Ford". Now your duplicate data source returns the sample you're looking for.
Want to view that sample data set in the sheets that are pointed at the original data set? In 7, do this:
On the Data menu, choose Replace Data Sources
Swap your "old" data source with the "copy" which represents your sample
Play with your sheets
Use Data | Replace Data Sources again do put things back the way they were.
Hope this helps!