The Ford Foundation is making a $500,000 grant to the Dance Theatre of Harlem that will allow the storied company to perform a season in New York City for the first time in nine years. "We are so happy and grateful to the Ford Foundation," said Laveen Naidu, Executive Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem. "This really helps bring our artistic vision back to the public." Financial problems caused the entire organization to shut down briefly in 2004. When it reopened, the organization couldn't afford to support a dance company with 44 performers, although it did maintain its school and the educational programs it provides in city schools. The company will stage six performances in April at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center. It will also hold a fund-raising gala next month that will honor actress Vanessa Williams that has Chelsea Clinton as it honorary chair. "It is our first season back so it is a short one," said Mr. Naidu, who added that he hopes future seasons will be longer. The Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and the late Karel Shook, who were inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to improve their neighborhood. The Ford Foundation was an instrumental early funder. "Dance Theatre of Harlem is one of America's true cultural treasures," said Darren Walker, vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation in a statement. "Its return is a reason for celebration and joy, and we are proud to once again support the Company and these fabulous performances.'