Many kids dream of running away and joining the circus, but Dante Ashton Harrison was lucky enough to be born into one.
Her whole life has been spent travelling from town to town across Australia, helping to pitch the big top tent and performing to large audiences by night.
She was trained from a young age in the various artforms of the circus by her parents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
"We learnt that wherever the tent was, that was home," she said.
"So, we didn't necessarily have a home base it was just everywhere, which didn't bother me much. It was just normal.
"Uplifting, moving the caravan was home, the tent was home. I made friends on the road, I would meet kids at the show and then go on playdates with them or go to gymnastics and meet kids there. It was truly an interesting childhood."
Ms Ashton Harrison finds herself switching between two jobs; one as a performer for Infamous The Show and the other as a mum to her two-year-old daughter, Bindi.
Her mornings vary, but are more or less determined by what time Bindi wakes up.
"She has been getting up really early as of late," she said.
"So one morning it can be 5:30 start and then the next it will be 6:30am, it is kind of a relaxed, chill morning. I'll wake up, have breakfast with her. Chill out, clean the van. Do all that normal, everyday life at home stuff."
But before long, she will head into the big top.
"I will do a bit of practice in the morning before everyone gets in here and the chaos begins," she said.
"Bindi will come in here. I'll maybe set up the trapeze, maybe just do some light stretching, that type of thing and then we will start setting up for the show."
After training, Ms Ashton Harrison and her fellow performers will begin to check off their tasks in the lead-up to the show.
From costumes to props, equipment to front of house, make-up, and all in between, everything that needs prepping for the show is taken care of.
Once the majority of the checks are finished, around midday, Ms Ashton Harrison will put her daughter down for a nap and take the opportunity to get some quick shut-eye before the show.
"I then spent the rest of the day getting ready from 2 o'clock and the show doesn't start till 7:30pm," she said.
"So as we're getting ready, I get to do my hair, makeup, because obviously with Bindi, it's hard to juggle.
"Every single day is bring your daughter to work day."
Between the show prep and cooking dinner, Ms Ashton Harrison always prioritises spending quality family time with her partner and daughter.
Before long, the crowds start to converge and the performers ready themselves for the stage.
While backstage, she'll balance costume and hair changes, stage cues, and putting Bindi to bed.
"Sometimes it's really easy and she'll just lay down and go to sleep. Other nights she'll cry and I have to rock her in between getting my hair ready and my costumes on," she said.
After the finale, Ms Ashton Harrison will stretch, cool down, shower, and head to bed in preparation for another day in the life of a circus mum.
Growing up on the road may seem like an unconventional lifestyle, but it runs in the Ashton family's blood.
"So I'm a seventh generation and my daughter is eighth generation. And we're part of the Ashton family, so that goes back over 160 years now. They started Ashton Circus back in the day," she said.
The family traces their roots to convict James Henry Ashton, who was shipped to Australia after stealing a brooch in England in the mid 19th century.
He started off in Tasmania as a performing equestrian and would eventually open the first Ashton Circus in 1850.
The Ashtons performed within the North West region a number of times, including at the Hanging Rock.
Bekki Ashton said the family has quite a strong presence in the region.
"I believe [James Henry Ashton's] second wife passed away in the town of Hanging Rock," she said.
"The town discovered that there was a grave with a baby in the old cemetery. After she passed away, he donated the proceeds from however many shows to actually build a hospital [in town]."
Throughout the years, the family has performed for regional communities across the country, and even formed a friendship with notorious Australian bushranger Ned Kelly.
The show may not exist in its original form anymore, but three Ashton shows are in operations today, having sprouted from the first colonial show.
"And from there, my uncle started Joseph Ashton circus and that was around for about 15 years or so. We were based in Perth for about 13 years and that was a family-friendly show," Ms Ashton Harrison said.
Around six years ago, Joseph Aston created, Infamous The Show. It expanded the idea of a circus to include burlesque, cabaret, and singing.
"We've got all of those elements of what you'd see at a typical burlesque show or cabaret show, and then we've got the large-scale acts as well," Ms Ashton Harrison said.
"We've got the Wheel of Death and the flying trapeze, and some world-class acts. We're mixing all of that into this massive tent."
Infamous The Show is performing in Tamworth until December 9.
Tickets are available for purchase on Ticketek or at the door.
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