One of the keys to tight-looking, clean, and fast footwork is keeping the footwork small. Dancing with your feet far apart makes it easy to end up in ugly split-weight positions, and it also makes it extremely difficult to perform the footwork at high tempos. A good guideline is to keep your feet underneath your hips at all times. This exercise is designed to help you keep your footwork contained underneath your body.
The Drill: Place or tape a paper plate to the floor. (If you’re a guy with size 15 shoes, you can use tape together a couple of sheets of paper, or cutout an appropriately sized circle from a sheet of butcher paper.) Practice performing your with your feet always touching the paper plate. As you get more comfortable, slowly move more of your foot onto the plate until you always have the balls of your feet (or your power point) on the plate.
You can practice any non-moving footwork variation in this manner. This is a great technique for working on closed third position anchors, cross steps, and ball change rhythms.