|Portrayed by||Mary Elizabeth Winstead|
|Family||Joel Kirk (brother)|
Winstead was announced in the role on 11 July, by Rotten Tomatoes.
Lauryn Kirk is a 21-year-old farm girl living in Glenwood, Indiana and working at her family's garage as a bookkeeper. After her parents' deaths, she goes to live with her brother, Joel (John Reardon), in Indiana. Lauryn aspires to be a dancer, like her mother.
Throughout the film, Lauryn is guided by her best friend, Dana (Tessa Thompson). Lauryn feels uncertain of her abilities, and her insecurities sometimes get in the way of her ambition.
Desperate to escape small town life, Lauryn drives down to Chicago to audition for an entry in the renowned (and fictional) Chicago School of Music and Dance. Her dance, a cross between hip-hop and street dancing, is not welcomed by the harsh judge, and she is rejected even before she finishes her dance routine. Moments later, her car is towed off. Lauryn downs her sorrows in a café, where she meets the friendly Dana. Dana offers Lauryn a place to stay.
Dana frequently brings Lauryn around to shop, and proves to be a very loyal friend. She introduces Lauryn to a burlesque club called Ruby's, where she meets disc jockey Russ (Smith), fellow dancer Brooke (Roberts) and was given a job as a bookkeeper by clubowner Brenda (LeBlanc). After hours late at night, while she is alone in the club, Ruby decides to give the stage a try, and was caught by Russ.
One night, when Brenda finds herself short of dancers, Russ asks her to give Lauryn a try. Brenda agrees, and soon, Lauryn finds herself the new star of the club. She discovers a new kind of dance there, a mix between burlesque and hip-hop. The club eventually warms up to Lauryn's new dance moves, everyone that is except for rival dancer, Carmen (Bermudez), who sees Lauryn as a threat. She intimidates Lauryn through words; "People come here to see something special, not that stuff you do". Towards the end of the film, however, Carmen reveals that she only did that to encourage Lauryn further.
Soon, Lauryn and Russ begin dating, and they eventually form a relationship. He frequently takes her out for dinner. Although apparently somewhat of a playboy, Russ obviously cares for Lauryn. However, for some reason, Lauryn feels guilty for her parents' death, and vows to keep the family garage running.
She is portrayed as selfless, and has even kept her life on hold for 3 years to manage the garage. However, while she is off in Chicago, Joel begins to lose the business due to stacking bills. He goes down to Chicago to congratulate his sister on entering the school, but catches Lauryn during a dance at Ruby's. Overtaken by guilt, Lauryn returns home to Indiana to resume her work as a bookkeeper.
However, after seeing her dance joyfully in the garage, Joel then urges Lauryn to audition for the school again. This time, Lauryn's new moves are accepted and she acquires an entry. Lauryn returns to Ruby's to obtain her paycheck, and to apologize to Brenda, but finds a surprise congratulatory party there. The film ends with a dance.
Winstead's performance met with critical acclaim. "Winstead infuses every moment with an amazing amount of charm," says Teletext reviewer Victor Olliver. "Winstead's performance just about compensates for the generally poor direction," writes Matthew Turner. In addition, Des Partridge of Courier Mail says, "Mary Elizabeth Winstead [has] star quality." 
Lauryn is seen dancing to:
- "Teach Me How To Dance" by Che'Nelle, in the basement of her home in Indiana, rehearsing for the audition.
- "Steamy" by Tamara Powell, the first half of the song she dances first to in Ruby's.
- "Shawty Get Loose" by Lil Mama ft. T-Pain & Chris Brown, the second half.
- "Break It Down" by Alana D. plays when she goes around rehearsing out on the streets.
- "Love Ya" by Unklejam", during her outfit dance in Ruby's.
- "Beware of the Dog" by Jamelia plays while she dances along with Carmen and Brooke in Ruby's.
- "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa, the song she dances to in the garage near the end of the film.
- "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga plays during her second, and final audition.